Chocolate pecan bars, from The Food Network, were made with kid bakers in mind. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t bake up as a pretty sophisticated adult dessert, too. A buttery nut crust, a sweet filling, and topped with dark chocolate, they’ll appeal to everyone.
We bake like crazy in the Food Network Kitchen, and not just because we love a homemade treat. Baking makes us happy. We love everything about it: choosing what to make, lining up the ingredients, picking out the perfect sprinkles. We love the anticipation, too, as we wait oh-so-patiently for things to bake and cool.–The Food Network
HOW DO I CUT A DESSERT INTO DIAMOND SHAPES?
Before you even get to the cutting, make sure that your dessert is prepped for finishing. A 9-by-13-inch pan works best for cutting bars into those fetching diamond shapes you see above.
First, line the pan with foil or parchment; that will help you to lift the dessert out in one piece.
Next, make sure your dessert is cool enough to handle. This will enable you to make cleaner cuts. Now…here’s the easiest way to do it. You’ll need a few toothpicks and a decent knife with a long blade. To make precise and accurate cuts, insert three evenly spaced toothpicks, along each side of the cooled bars.
Cut diagonally across the bars beginning in one corner—the lower-left corner is an easy place to make your first cut—and cutting from one toothpick to the next closest on the perpendicular side. Continue making cuts across the bars moving from left to right—from toothpick to corresponding toothpick.
When you’ve cut all the way across, begin cutting from the corner above where you started—if you started in the lower-left, begin the second set of cuts from the upper-left corner—and keep cutting in line with the toothpicks moving from left to right.
Chocolate Pecan Bars
For the crust
- Non-stick baking spray
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter cold, cut into cubes
For the topping
- 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 stick (2 oz) unsalted butter melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups pecans roughly chopped
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate roughly chopped
Make the crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Line a 9- by 13-inch (23-by 33-cm) baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch (5-cm) overhang on two sides. Generously coat foil with cooking spray.
- In a food processor, pulse pecans until finely ground. Add flour, granulated sugar, and salt and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until dough starts clumping together (it will still be crumbly).
- Dump dough into the prepared pan and press into an even layer with your fingers. Bake until firm and fully golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Leave oven on.
Make the topping
- In a large bowl, whisk corn syrup, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and salt together until smooth. Stir in pecans.
- Spread topping over warm crust and sprinkle evenly with chocolate. Bake until top is set and no longer jiggly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Lift bars out of the pan using the overhanging foil. Peel off foil and cut bars into diamonds or squares. Bars can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I’m ready for autumn soups and stews and nutty desserts even though it’s a very sweaty August day, and I have people here who think dessert must have chocolate. These nutty bittersweet chocolate pecan bars seemed like a good compromise. Substituting whole wheat pastry flour for the AP and golden syrup for corn means these little bites are practically health food with all those nuts and dark chocolate.
Although I think one could double the pecans, chopping some of them more finely into the topping and leaving some more rough, the bars are wonderful as is.
These chocolate pecan bars got rave reviews all around. The most important being that they were the first to disappear from the dessert table. I took these to our neighbour’s 70th birthday party and the guest of honour gave them a 10 out of 10. They’re simple to make and bake up to a sweet treat. The bittersweet chocolate and crunchy pecans are a perfect contrast to the sweet filling and the crust gives a buttery crumble when you bite into it. Delightful.
The bars came out of the pan nicely with the foil sling and cut easily. I cut them into wedges so they looked like mini pecan pie slices.
Originally published September 25, 2021